Designers are rethinking the ways in which architecture can foster social equity.
Three communities strive for sustainable living in the region.
Neighborhoods that help keep residents and Mother Nature vibrant and healthy are springing up in the Washington, D.C. area. These sustainable communities offer features that help reduce greenhouse emissions such as natural gas and provide access to public transit as well as opportunities for outdoor recreation to enjoy the chic surroundings.
Here is a trio of communities that offer metro area residents comfortable living spaces and lots of opportunities to stop and smell the flowers.
Westside at Shady Grove Metro
Westside at Shady Grove Metro is a new neighborhood in Rockville, Maryland, that embraces sustainable construction: all townhomes will achieve U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification (the most widely used green building rating system in the world). Westside, built on 45 acres of former Montgomery County government facilities, is another step forward for EYA, one of the area’s largest developers of urban and transit-oriented properties.
LEED certification means the townhomes will be designed, constructed and operated for efficient use of resources, high performance and healthful benefits for residents, as well as being cost effective. For example, amenities include natural gas–equipped kitchens designed for people who love to cook. The first phase of the urban neighborhood is under construction, with the first six LEED-certified townhomes completed in May 2016. Eventually the community will have 400 townhomes, as well as four multifamily buildings, with nearby access to more than 40,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, a school, library, community center, pool, dog park and community gardens.
The development is adjacent to the Shady Grove Metro Station and is within easy walking distance to neighborhood retail establishments. Located on the Red Line with access to major routes, the community will drive home the concept of independence from driving, another step in limiting polluting carbon emissions. “By providing new LEED-certified homes and neighborhood-serving retail on top of a metro station, EYA is building a sustainable community where residents will not be dependent on their cars,” said Preston Innerst, EYA vice president of sales.
The Maples on Capitol Hill has a lofty history: The 1795 Georgianstyle manor home’s wealthy owner entertained the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Today, the home and outbuildings have been renovated and rebuilt as an upscale community of flats, duplexes, and townhomes designed by Cunningham Quill Architects and developed by Altus Realty Partners with Potomac Capital Advisors as equity partner. The beautiful architecture, historic detailing and setting are getting attention: The Maples was named Best Washington-Baltimore Adaptive Reuse Condominium Community in Delta Associates’ 19th Annual Mid-Atlantic Multifamily Awards competition.
Textured bathroom tile, custom cabinetry, white oak flooring and porcelain floor tiles give interiors a polished air. The kitchens are culinary beauties that sport custom cabinetry and stainless steel Jenn-Air professional kitchen appliances with the convenience of natural gas stovetops and ovens.
With pedestrian access to restaurants, shops, and the Eastern Market Metro, the Maples has a natural profile of walkability amid an inviting setting.
“The Maples is a beautiful Capitol Hill property that provides great pedestrian access to Eastern Market, Barracks Row, Metro and more,” said Matt Dewey, vice president of sales at Urban Pace, the Washington, D.C., firm that sold the residences. Rounding out the sustainability profile of the Maples is a year-round historic indoor-outdoor farmers and specialty foods market, as well as a nearby Capital Bikeshare station.
In its original incarnation, Crown was Crown England Farm. Today, Crown’s four communities—on 182 acres just off I-270 at Sam Eig Highway and the InterCounty Connector in Gaithersburg, Maryland—is a vibrant patchwork of residences, shops, restaurants and parks.
The Crown England farmhouse, silos and other historic buildings have been preserved. The master-planned community also offers several touchstones of sustainability: neighborhoods that integrate shops, restaurants, and park space for excellent walkability and access to the outdoors. About 40 percent of the acreage of the planned 2,250 homes, and 20 percent of the 320,000 square feet of commercial space, will be maintained as green space. There is also a focus on resident health and well-being. LA Fitness is an anchor in Downtown Crown; and the Retreat, Crown’s new health-community-recreation center, offers residents exercise classes, outdoor swimming and tennis, reflective spaces and a rockclimbing wall.
Crown’s accessible location, as well as free shuttle service to the Shady Grove Metro, reduces the need for cars. One of the four neighborhoods, Crown Central, will be a stop on the future Corridor Cities Transitway, a BRT line connecting Shady Grove Metro to Clarksburg.